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Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)

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Written by   10
9 months ago

“I always hope to earn my living with my own art, without ever deviating from my principles, without lying to my conscience for a moment, without painting an inch of canvas to please someone or to sell it easily”. These statements of Courbet; Today, it has acquired a secure position in the art scene, on the other hand, produces a large number of ordinary works that are not the product of a sincere emotional and mental concentration or simply due to inadequacy, and the ostentatious, repetitive and literary-philosophical platitudes that are equipped with empty praises in the writings. but when many of our artists bragging about in costumes that don't fit them come to mind, it must be an example lesson. In fact, there is no artist who would not stand by what Courbet had to say. But Courbet stuffed what he said with his experiences, made it meaningful, and did not stay in words, as many fifth-grade artists do. For this reason, Courbet has a privileged place in the history of art as an ideal artist model. Courbet; He is a true artist whose life and art, what he says and does do not contradict each other, who fights for his beliefs and does not bow before anything. It questioned the rules, broke the stereotypes and paved the way for the new.

Artist's Workshop

Finally, in 1840, at the age of 21, he went to Paris. He started his law education at the request of his father, but is actually in this city to try his luck as a painter. After a short time, he gave himself up completely to painting and left his law education. He started attending workshops in Paris and attended copy sessions at the Louvre. In the Louvre, he made copies of the works of Delacroix and Gericault, especially the masters of German, Flemish, Venetian and Spanish painting. Among the artists he admires is Caravaggio. His early works, which show influences of Romanticism, make him no more than an ordinary painter. On the other hand, his first years in Paris gain importance as a period in which his art and artistic personality are shaped. His studies on old masters shaped his style. In particular, the use of the contrast between light and shadow by artists such as Zurbaran and Caravaggio, and the realistic and direct expressions in their paintings coincide with Courbet's understanding of art. In addition, the French romantic painting, from which he came, was decisive in his art. In particular, the texture effects provided by the brush movements of British romantic artists such as Constable, who deeply influenced the French romantics, were reflected in their works. The first years Courbet was in Paris was also a period when photography emerged and the first developments in this field came to the fore. The art of painting is at an early stage of seeking to position itself in the face of this new technique and development. Photograph; It not only encouraged the art of painting to face a new reality, but also provided it with new possibilities and perspectives. Meanwhile, the artist regularly visits Ornans every year and makes some trips abroad. His visit to the Netherlands in 1847 was influential on him. The bohemian life he led and the friendships established with writers and thinkers such as Baudelaire, Prudhon and Champfleury, whom he met during this time, matured his view of art. Especially with the influence of Proudhon, he got closer to socialist thought.

Socialist ideas began to spread in the 1840s among the Republicans, who reacted strongly to the interruption of the 1830 July Revolution, which provided a limited expansion in political freedoms. On the one hand, with the influence of the literary circles, a strong sympathy for the Great Revolution was developing in the new generations, on the other hand, the economic depression conditions following the bad harvest in 1846 and the corruption of the ruling class caused discontent among the people, which resulted in the Second Republic period, which would be valid between 1848-1852. caused the uprising.

However, his uncompromising attitude, which is reflected in his paintings, will lead to more unpleasant events when he moves to an area related to the political life of France. In 1870, together with Daumier, he refused the Légion d'Honneur order, III. When Napoleon was overthrown, he was appointed as the head of the Art Union of the Paris Commune, which was founded in 1871. Although he resigned from his post by not participating in the extreme behavior of the Commune, he was arrested and fined after the Commune was overthrown on the grounds that he had a hand in the destruction of the Vendôme Column, which glorified the victories of Napoleon I.

The artist fled to Switzerland in 1873 to escape this punishment. Here he ran a large workshop producing landscapes and died while in exile on the last day of 1877.

Gustave Courbet, one of the founders of realism, one of the most important art movements of the 19th century, should be remembered as the pioneer of modern painting with his rebellious attitude as an artist and his style and subject approach in his art.

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Written by   10
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